Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer
Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer

How To Buy Self Tanner

By Lisa Cohen LeeSHOP.COM Beauty Editor

Almost every beachgoer grapples with the same dilemma-you're pining for that bronzed, sun-kissed glow, but don't want to increase your risk for skin cancer or accelerate aging. Slathering on sunscreen outside is a must, but at home, go for a faux, safe glow. Thanks to new technology, better results and effortless applications, you can achieve a natural-looking, healthy tan without an ounce of sun. So what are you waiting for? Before the summer slips away, find a self-tanner that fits your lifestyle and look, with this glowing guide. Almost every beachgoer grapples with the same dilemma,you're pining for that bronzed, sun-kissed glow, but don't want to increase your risk for skin cancer or accelerate aging. Slathering on sunscreen outside is a must, but at home, go for a faux, safe glow. Thanks to new technology, better results and effortless applications, you can achieve a natural-looking, healthy tan without an ounce of sun. So what are you waiting for? Before the summer slips away, find a self-tanner that fits your lifestyle and look, with this glowing guide.

The Basics

Step 1FORMULA: Self-tanners are available in a wide selection of formulas, like gels, creams, sprays, foams and wipe-on towelettes. Which formula you select depends on your skin type and personal preference. Cream or lotion is the most moisturizing, while gel, foam and spray are fast-drying. Wipe on towels are easily applied without a mess. Self-tanners are usually specific to face and body, with face ones containing anti-aging and moisturizing ingredients.
Step 2APPLICATION: Look for self-tanners that claim a streak-free application. Usually, a lotion, cream, foam or gel is applied with your hands (which should be washed afterward to avoid tanned palms) and spread easily to avoid tell-tale lines. Sprays are meant to deliver a smooth, seamless application, while other applicators (like an airbrush tool or wipe) give pro results. A tinted formula works well as a guide for finding missed spots and avoiding streaks.
Step 3RESULTS: Your glow can be subtle or deep and dark-it's up to you. But you should choose a formula that's close to your natural skin tone. For instance, a fair complexion should opt for a light to medium bronze, while darker skin tones can go for the deepest color available. Keep in mind that self-tanners work like a real tan; with each application, you build color and prolong the glow.

The Lingo

DHA: Main ingredient in self-tanners; it's a colorless sugar that interacts with skin cells to produce a tint that slowly fades over time. The amount of DHA in the formula determines what the final shade will be, i.e. light, medium or dark.
TINTED: Self-tanning formulas that are similar to makeup. When you apply it, you instantly see color, while the formula works to build a lasting tan.
DAILY: These formulas are every day moisturizers that deposit a small amount of DHA onto skin, and build up a subtle glow with each application.
SPF: Sun protection factor that's found in some self-tanning products. Unless your formula indicates SPF, you won't be protected from UV rays with self-tanner alone.
ANTIOXIDANTS: Healthy skin ingredients that help prolong your glow and counteract free-radical damage.
EXFOLIATING: A scrub or peel that removes dead skin cells to reveal fresher ones. It's recommended to exfoliate before applying self-tanner to get an even, streak-free application.

The Experts

Allure Magazine's beauty editors gave high marks to the retooled Jergens Natural Glow Healthy Complexion Daily Facial Moisturizer "One of the easiest ways to get a gradual, believable glow now has broad-spectrum SPF 20 protection added."
The beauty department at O, The Oprah Magazine, said this about Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Golden Perfection Self-Tanning Milk For Body: "Though it contains the same DHA that all self-tanners use to darken the upper layers of the skin, only a trace of the cloying scent is detectable through the sultry notes of amber, vetiver, and sandalwood."

The Brands

Known for its Natural Glow line of moisturizers, Jergens is the go-to brand for daily moisturizing, self-tanners that gradually build natural looking color, in easy-to-apply formulas.
Guerlain's Terracotta line of luxurious self-tanners give beautiful, sun-kissed results in as little as two hours.
The granddaddy of all self-tanners, Clarins is praised by many for their elegant formulas, infused with botanicals for a gorgeous bronze glow.
Mystic Tan offers a three-step system with patented technology that promises a perfect, deep, natural-looking tan similar to a professional salon treatment.
Fusion Beauty is known for their fast-drying, all-natural, odor-free formula and long-lasting, glowing results.

The Price

$: Expect to find a basic self-tanners and daily glow moisturizers in a plethora of formulas-gel, cream, foam and continuous spray-that give natural looking results. Vaseline Healthy Body Glow Replenishing Moisturizer and Touch of Self Tanner, $5.24
$$: The self-tanners in this price range incorporate more anti-aging and skin protecting ingredients, like botanicals, antioxidants and rich moisturizers. Clarins Delicious Self-Tanning Cream, $42.
$$$: Most of these self-tanners include a special application or entire system to help prolong and preserve your tan. Fusion Beauty AirGlow, Airbrush Gun System $175.

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